“Sun beds caused me to lose my ear.”

by Kim Perry

(photo source: the skin clinic)

sunbedFrom the age of 18, Katherine Simpson had been using sun beds on a regular basis, often every week. But little did she know her need to have sun-kissed skin was causing severe and long term damage.

Now at the age of just 26, Katherine has been through four operations to remove moles that have turned cancerous from the use of sunbeds. One operation even involving the removal of her left ear.

“I always thought my pale skin made me look ill so I thought going on the sun beds gave me a healthy glow.”

“I would only go on for about 3 minutes at a time then build it up to six. It was never an excessive amount of time, but still enough to do damage.”

Two years after beginning her regular sun beds trips, Katherine noticed a mole on her chest had grown and become lighter. Although on holiday in Lanzarote at the time, she took a trip straight to the doctors to get it checked. It was then that she was diagnosed with melanoma, a type of skin cancer.

“I was told the mole on my chest had turned cancerous, along with a mole on my ear which i hadn’t noticed.”

“The holiday was ruined. We had to come straight home so that the moles could be removed before the skin cancer spread.”

“When the doctors told me I would have to have the majority of my ear removed I was devastated and annoyed with myself for not taking the dangers serious enough.”


Describing the process as ‘the biggest scare of her life’, Katherine thought the nightmare was over after the removal of two moles but it was less than a year later that she found another mole on her thigh with an irregular shape.

“I remember crying because I knew exactly what was coming when I went to the doctors.”

Even though she had stopped using sun beds, the damage had already been done and the melanoma had spread.

Over two years Katherine had been through four cancer scares and numerous skin grafts, and to this day she still endures other cancer scares.

“I’m always worrying that it may have come back or spread somewhere more serious. One thing for definite, i would definitely advise anyone against them.”


‘Katherine googling melanoma’


  • If you notice any changes in your mole or freckle, contact your GP ASAP
  • Always be aware of the consequences of sun beds
  • Try a professional spray tan instead – they can look just as good without the risks!
  • ALWAYS use sun tan lotion in the sun to protect your skin.

Read more stories from Kim here